View Full Version : CN Brakes

07-19-2003, 02:24 PM
I would like some discussion on the brakes on the Capo. I have had mine a year now, with 8k on the odo. Here are my impressions:

First - the front brakes are excellent - great feel, great stopping power. I generally use two or three fingers on the lever to get full stopping power from the bike. I replaced pads at about 6k, with about 1k of pad left. I used the standard Aprilia pads, supplied by Brembo. For some reason, I get a lot of brake squeal at lower speeds now, that I didn't have before, though stopping power seems unchanged. It is irritating enough that I have ordered new pads - Ferodo Sinter Grips (HH+ rated pads) - to see if I can make the squeal go away. These are more aggressive pads than the OEM, and are a popular choice for the RSV Mille.

Second - the rear brakes are quite weak. With the original pads, the feel was quite wooden, and I doubt that I could have locked the rear wheel if I was standing on the pedal. I also got annoying brake squeal from the rears at slow speeds. I replaced the rear pads with Ferodo Platinums at the first service. They eliminated the squeal, and gave more feel at the pedal, but they are still quite weak, IMO. The rear pads are the same as spec'd for the Mille - and I am sure that they are appropriate for a full blown sport bike such as the RSV. However, with the heavier weight, and longer wheel base of the Capo, I think that it can stand more rear stopping power without it being a hazard.

I am considering going with sintered pads on the rear. Ferodo specs a Sinter Grip rear for the Capo, though Aprilia recommends against sintered pads back there. Has anybody tried this? Any discussion?


07-19-2003, 02:53 PM
While I agree that the rear brakes on the Capo seem somewhat weak, IMHO that's probably a good thing on a bike as tall and heavy as it is. Locking the rear wheel is not something you want to be doing on a regular basis. Having experienced the Capo's top-heaviness first hand now, I can say that I probably will only use the rear brakes lightly while stopping. I think they're main purpose is to keep the bike from rolling at a stop while you relax your throttle hand.

07-19-2003, 03:07 PM
I've just recently (~1000 miles ago) replaced my rear pads with EBC HH Sintered pads and have absloutely no regrets -- quite the contrary. The rear brakes now feel like I feel they should have from the beginning. With the "single-pot" rear caliper, the pads are not, by any means, overly "grabby" -- very controllable. I fell that Aprillia probably put weaker pads in the rear for the bike's possible "off-road" use, but even after the replacement, I don't see that there should be any problems in that department. These pads gave the bike rear brakes that I could actually use!!

Cheers .....

Mark - '02 Capo

07-19-2003, 03:51 PM
John, I think that you are correct about Aprilia's purpose for the rear brakes. I think, that from the point of view of safety, weak rear brakes are more and more the default mode for modern bikes. There's not a quicker route to a high side than a locked rear wheel. However, our bike is a touring bike as much as a trailie - with the weight and wheel base that supports that function. Whereas the front tire carries 90-100% of the braking load on a sport bike, a Gold Wing or Voyager might rely on the rear for as much as 25% of normal braking force - even with hard braking. On our bike, in highway use, I would guess that the rear wheel could provide 15-20% of normal stopping power, especially with full bags and a passenger, though panic stops would transfer close to 100% to the front (stoppies are possible, I hear). Therein lies the problem - modulation of the rear can be quite tricky in a hard stop, and hazardous. I would like to have more stopping power available on the rears, whether for better trail braking at low speeds, or just a more satisfying feel when finishing a stop at a red light (minimizing front fork dive). What would make this problem much more workable would be rear ABS - with an over ride for off road use.

07-19-2003, 03:56 PM
Mark, thaks for the post. What are you running on the fronts - EBC HH pads also? Though the OEM front pads are sintered, I am pretty certain that they are GG friction rated - so HH pads up there should give you a bit more bite.

07-19-2003, 06:03 PM
Yeah, Jack, I've now got ~150 miles on the HH fronts. Initial feeling now that the are fairly "bedded in" is that the don't have as much initial bite as the Brembos, yet still with only one finger you can give it a really good squeeze and have the beginnings of a stoppy -- they modulate _really_ well. Very controllable, very progressive, very intentional operation. The rear also modulate well. I'm never worried about a panic lockup in the rear -- you still, even with HH's, have to intend to lock the rear, but at least it's now possible.

07-21-2003, 06:54 AM
Jack, I agree with MV. I've had the EBH HH pads front and rear for about 4000 mile now and I would choose again based on better performance. Rear brake much better feel and power. Fronts are much more powerfull at beginning , have eased up and gotten more progressive over the miles.

07-30-2003, 06:02 PM
Thanks guys. I am reassured about the rear brake 'cos i've tried bleeding mine and it still doesn't do much. My IAM instructor tells me to control the speed with the back brake for low speed figures of 8 but tho I stand on it those two cannons under the tank just keep shooting the bike forward. So I'm just getting better at high speed figures of 8. but I will try the EBC HHs in due course.

07-31-2003, 10:17 AM
What causes low speed squeals, does anyone know? I commute on my Capo, so I spend time in stop and go traffic almost every day, and gentle pressure on the front brake almost always produces a squeal. Any ideas on how I can stop it?

I went with the Ferodo HH sintered both front and back when I replaced my OEMs.


07-31-2003, 10:01 PM
I am replacing the front pads with Ferodo Sinter Grips, partly to get rid of the squealing. Apparently, they did not accomplish this for you.... :(

The original pads on my front brakes never did squeal, but the rear pads did. Replacing the rears with Ferodo platinums at the first service took care of the squeal back there. When I replaced the front pads with the Aprilia replacement part (sourced by Brembo, I believe) I picked up the squealing problem on the front.

I have seen it suggested that a sticking caliper piston can cause this problem. I plan to have them checked when I have the pads replaced this weekend.

07-31-2003, 11:48 PM
Could your rotors be warped or pitted? Also, any vibration or movement between the pads and the calper piston will cause squealing, especially at low speed. Auto stores carry pad backing, usually a thin piece of aluminum that sticks to the back of the pad, to eliminate squeal.

08-01-2003, 07:24 PM
Some people recommend copper grease on the back of the pads to reduce squealing - a brand name is copa-slip- but any of the copper-based anti-seize compounds would probably do.

08-03-2003, 04:28 PM
Well, the Ferodo Sinter Grip pads did not cure the squeal, but otherwise are great. Initial bite does not seem different than before, but they are definitely more progressive - the more you squeeze, the greater the stopping force - and in a very linear fashion. This is an improvement IMO. The rear pads are still silent - replaced those with DP standard sintered pads. Additional good news is that they are more effective now, so transitioning to them while completing stops at intersections allows me to avoid most of the front end squeal while minimizing the front fork pogo effect. I think that the problem must be a minor vibration problem, as some have suggested, between the pads and caliper pistons. I will experiment with backing material later.

08-04-2003, 10:06 AM
Posted to another list, and got lots of ideas for reducing squeal:

The backing strips do help, but so does removing the glaze off the pads and disks. 3M makes a small disc for this purpose. Also clean out the slot it the pad and file a bevel on the leading edge of the pad.

You may have to remove the discs from the wheel to clean up the back sides. You don't want to remove metal from the disc, just create a nice even swirl pattern on the surface.

While you have the calipers off, pump the pistons out a little and clean off the crap. Then apply a film of silicone brake grease to the side oof the piston and press the pistons back in one at a time. Work them in and out till you can move them with finger pressure.

Don't forget to lube the pad retainer pins and the caliper slide pins and boots.

Just clean up the calipers and the pads first, it may be all you need to get rid of the Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

08-04-2003, 08:14 PM
Thanks, grins! Some good info there. I have done everything but filing the pads. FWIW, the original pads, which did not squeal, had a vertical slot bisecting the pads. The Aprilia replacement pads, which first developed the squeal, did not. The Ferodo pads also do not have the slot. I had already wondered at this. I will have the pads modified at the next service.

08-05-2003, 05:44 PM
At the next service???

1 remove pads
2 cut slot with hacksaw
3 replace pads.

Useful things, hacksaws. A VSCC member who was down to his last (completely bald) set of beaded edge tyres on the Brescia Bugatti was refused entry to a race at Silverstone on the grounds of lack of tread on tyres. Next seen on a tour of the paddock trying to borrow a hacksaw(which he did). 45 minutes later, passed scrutineers and raced. But I digress.

08-25-2003, 11:21 AM
Great FAQ all can be found @ http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/Brake_Pad_FAQ.htm#Brake Squeal FAQ

Brake Squeal FAQ:
by Kristian #562, Flash #412

Q. I’ve just changed my brake pads. Why do they Squeal. It’s really annoying.!

Brake squeal is caused by the pads vibrating against the caliper/piston (vibration=noise=squeal).


1. Solution 1: Rear Wheel Only. Check your wheel alignment. i.e. for the rear pads, check the numbers in the little tabs on the side of the Swingarm. They must be the same on both sides of the Wheel. It is easy, if you took your tyre off to say change the pads to get the wheel out of alignment even IF the marks read the same. The reason is that you MUST PUSH the wheel forward to the end of the adjustment travel (and keep it there) when reinstalling the tyre, otherwise the marks can “float” around inside the swing arm and give you incorrect readings. Don’t forget to DO UP those adjustment bolts AFTER you have torqued the rear wheel Nut, so you don’t lose the End-Plates and Bolts, they can work their way loose.! You won’t lose the rear wheel, don’t worry, just the Bolts/Endplates, if they somehow undo ALL the way. You do not need to take the tyre off to change the pads btw, see the FAQ above for details. There is no such adjustment on the front wheel. See the Rear Wheel Removal FAQ for more information.

2. Solution 2: Check your “Floating Disc Brake Unit” CAN actually “float” on the Brake Disc. i.e. the Disc Brake Unit, sits on the Wheel Axle Shaft AND is NOT jammed up against the Swingarm somehow a this could also put it out of alignment with respect to the Disc. You should be able to wobble it a lit bit. For the REAR brake, on the inside of the LHS Swingarm there is a little nib welded in place which stops the whole Disc Unit from rotating. Make sure this little Nib is IN the SLOT in the Disc Unit. Another thing to check is that the calliper pins are free. Our brakes are what's called floating calliper which means the calliper floats on a mount which keeps it centered on the disk as the pads wear. This way the brakes require no adjustments throughout the life of the pads. If the calliper begins to bind on the pins or (as in my case) the wheel or fork is put incorrectly the calliper applies uneven pressure to the pads, lessening the brakes' effectiveness. All that's required is to loosen all the stuff on the bottom of the fork a little bit, as if removing the wheel. Sit on the bike and pump the fork up and down a time or two, then re-torque everything. To my long winded post above I would like to add: The way to check for the whole calliper thing is:

Put the bike on the center stand.

Somehow apply weight to the back wheel, easiest way is to have someone sit on the luggage rack, and spin the front tire once it's off the ground.

If you have an off center disk, it will bind and one point and if you listen to the brake you will hear the disk drag more at one point than the rest.

(It's normal for the disk to drag a little, but a good spin should keep the wheel turning for 10-20 revolution at least).

3. Solution 3: Take out the anti-squeal spring and bend it so that it holds the pads more firmly. This is the little spring BEHIND the squared-off end of the Pad, so you will need to remove your wheel and disc to access it. Bend the spring/seat until it is tight on the pads. You will see what I mean if you look at it. There is also one on the top of the calliper which can be bent downwards slightly.

4. Solution 4: Sand the surface of the Pads (the Pad Compound) lightly with sand paper, on a flat surface. This will remove the Glaze that builds up over time. You may need to do these several times over the life of the Pad. Some riders believe it comes from using the Brake too Lightly. This has not been confirmed.

5. Solution 5: Put “Copaslip”, a sort of copper based “dry” grease on the BACK of the brake pads (Just where they contact the Pad Holders). When you do this make very sure you DO NOT get ANY of the grease on the pad compound. Or you will have NO BRAKES at all.! “Dave # 093 wrote: Get yourself some brake specific grease--high temp grease made especially for brakes. Get a small container because it will last for the rest of your life. Apply a thin layer of this stuff to BACK of the brake plates--where they touch the callipers, not where they touch the disk and the squeak will be gone.”. Or use a small amount of High Temperature silicone on the BACK of the pads.

6. Solution 6: This one normally ALWAYS fixes the problem. Change See Flash’s Maintenance Log Maintenance Log for the Type of Brake Pads available for the F650. The EBC & Galfer Pads are recommended, the Ferodo ones Squeak, badly, in my experience. I've had both EBC & Ferodo. I believe the Ferodo ones are made in Italy and hence, as the F was originally made in Italy at the Aprilia Factory, MAY be the OEM ones you get when you order replacements from BMW. The EBC & Galfer Pads use a softer compound, hence may not last quite as long, but they grip well and I like to have good brakes over anything else, bar tyres. you can actually SEE the harder specks in the Ferodo pads too.

7. Solution 7: For the short term, try some Brakkleen. But in the long run, it probably won't fix your problem

Thanks to Dave# 093 for the tip on “Brake Grease.” and Rick #815


Decided to experiment in removing the horrible squawking noise from my rear brake. Removed the pads and cleaned them by placing them face down on some 320 grit wet and dry paper, using a sheet of glass as backing (nice and flat) keeping the paper nice and wet, I managed to scuff off the glazed material from the pads, washed them off, dried and refitted. Road test revealed no more noise and the braking is good......see how long it lasts before I get the noise back again. Well......it did not work :-( I have the squawk back again. Next move is remove pads and make 2 hacksaw cuts into the pad material, similar to the front pads, but at
a slight angle across the pad itself. Like Todd said, will clean the rotor this time around. Jack F650GS Australia

To complete your process, while the brake pads are removed I take a cotton rag, wet it with brake cleaner, and wipe the rotor while spinning it to clean off the grease. I do this several times with fresh brake cleaner and rag surfaces - that way I know that the rotor is clean when it first meets the new pad surface you prepared. Most of the time when you have problems with brake noise due to contamination of the rotor/pads, it all starts with a greasy handprint during a tire change or wheel adjustment. Todd #389

Rear brake squeal was driving me nuts. I believe there's a solution short of replacing otherwise okay pads. So far, so good. I bought a can of this spray called Brakekleen. I dropped the rear wheel so that I would have good access to most of the pad surfaces. With the wheel dropped, you can spray into the inside of the pads, as well as the gap between the outside of the pads and the thingamajig that squeezes them. First short bursts to blow out the dust, then I saturated all of it. Have a rag to catch the run-off. I Rode all afternoon in traffic without any squeal. Job took about ten minutes. It was chain lube time anyway. It's baaaaaack, but I'm not complaining. The Brakekleen spray did stop the horrific rear brake squealing for about 900 miles. Not bad for such little expense and trouble. Pads still good, so still no need to replace them. About 50 of those miles was some hard braking and corning on a go-cart track where I was talking the MSF's advanced rider course. Roy 1095

Brake squeal is caused by the pads vibrating against the caliper/piston (vibration=noise=squeal). Take the pads out, lube the back of the pads with BMW#10 or axle grease or Vaseline or anti-seize or anything else that's gooey and will stay in place. I've been doing this for years on a plethora of bikes (Hondas, Suzukis, BMWs, Moto Guzzis) and it works. Give it a try. Shank NYC USA

I tried the Brakekleen and got about 300 squeal free miles for the trouble. Next step I pull the pads and try the high temp grease trick. IMHO the Brakekleen treatment is a bit messy and the stuff is bad for plastic finishes. I think it was intended for use in cleaning parts NOT on a vehicle. Cover everything plastic in sight if you decide to use the spray. Next stop, new pads. BradG 1002, N, CA '01GS.

The brake cleaners as specified, will not eat the brake seals, IMO. Just don't use carb cleaners, electric motor cleaners, etc on brake parts. It may be harmful and cause bad reactions with brake fluid. Maybe! Use "rubber gloves" from one who did this a ton, in earlier years and did NOT....Skin may be fairly resistant to a lot of things, but not all. Randy748/Calif.

I'll confirm what Mark403 says about the Galfer Green pads. I put Blue on the rear and eliminated my brake squeal too. BradG.

Yes, I thought the same thing. Had the problem start at 3500Km. One day I was looking at a brochure and in the fine print, pads are covered till 7500Km. Finally fixed at 15000Km. Now all my HD biker friends can stop riding me. Rick #815 BC Can.

My '01 GS-A developed a significant rear squeal when I was out on a hundred mile ride. It was there again after only a few easy stops on my next ride. I used some brake cleaner which helped for a short while but, came back the next day. I'd like to avoid having the bike tied up at the dealer if at all possible. Logan's Ride 2001 F650GSA Chicago, IL.

When it sometimes happens to me, I find a place well away from folks, stick the bike in first gear and ride along with plenty of throttle and with the rear brake on (and off) hard till the squealing noise goes away. After a short while it disappears, (till the next time). I just put it down to glazing of the pads. Trevor 999 UK 01 GS

My tip. Enjoy it. I have the same noise at times. Comes and goes. No reason to it. I use lots of rear brakes on my Dakar. It tends to hold the nose up. Over the last couple years there has been lots written about this on the board so you are not a lone ranger. Fact is Disc brakes have been noisy at times since the invention of them. As long as the pads are good. Enjoy. F650GS Dakar, Oregon. Steve 1130 Or

When we got our 02 650GSA last May, it developed the rear brake squeal at about 150 miles on the bike. I figured it had glazed over from all the washing and cleaning it got from sitting on the showroom floor along with a little dust from the dirt road we live on. If I applied the rear brake to the point that it was getting quite warm, the squealing would go away for about 20 miles. I took it buy the dealer at about 500 miles on the bike and pointed out that it was getting to the point that when it would squeal (howling now) you would actually lose a little breaking action and I was afraid of developing a wear pattern in the disc that could cause future pads to developed a squeal again. They said that they could schedule me in about 3 weeks to look at it. I couldn't believe that they would not even try to do a quick sand job on the pads or anything else since I would have considered it to be kind of a "Safety Issue". They didn't even want to take the bike out to see how bad it was. Even though I don't use the rear brakes much, it concerned me because we sold our Honda XR650L for the BMW 650 so that my wife could ride it also. I'd like her to have all the braking power available of the bike if she should need it. Anyway, I was a little ticked so on my way out of the dealership, I bought a set of EBC Pads and in less than 2 minutes had them in and haven't had a squeal since. The bikes got over 4k miles now. A couple of weeks ago we picked up a 2002 650GSAL for my wife (because she liked the 650 GS so much I couldn't get it away from her and when she found out BMW made a lowered one, I new we'd end up with two 650's) and so far no squealing brakes. If it starts, I'm just going to put in new pads right off. It's worth the dollars not to mess with the dealer if they want to drag it out. It's over a 100 mile round trip for me to go to the dealer plus they can seldom do the work at the time you bring it in so that you don't have to drop it off for a couple of days. Maybe your dealer would be the type to toss you some new pads and say go for it.
BBach, 02 650GSA, Brian #1324

My squealing started when I changed my pads half a year ago (at 60.000KM). I used the same brand as before (SBS). The squealing is almost gone now after 5000KM of use. Regards, Spakur #1117, Icelander.

08-25-2003, 06:21 PM
To let everyone know, I put EBH HH pads on both front and rear at 4000 mi. (see QUICKSILVER) Have around 5000 on them now. Haven't checked them yet, But will in the near future. Overall much better with only slight squeal both front and rear depending on brake pressure. Still grab as easy as after broken in. Very happy with result. Will provide details on wear when I check them.

08-26-2003, 09:35 PM
I'm totally sick of the mushy, useless rear brake on my otherwise great bike; Where can I buy (preferably online) some of these HH sintered brake pads? Thanks,

08-27-2003, 07:52 AM
Bought mine from my not-so-local Aprilia dealer. Mailed 'em to me.:cool: QS

10-04-2004, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by silvercapo
I am replacing the front pads with Ferodo Sinter Grips, partly to get rid of the squealing. Apparently, they did not accomplish this for you.... :(

The original pads on my front brakes never did squeal, but the rear pads did. Replacing the rears with Ferodo platinums at the first service took care of the squeal back there. When I replaced the front pads with the Aprilia replacement part (sourced by Brembo, I believe) I picked up the squealing problem on the front.

I have seen it suggested that a sticking caliper piston can cause this problem. I plan to have them checked when I have the pads replaced this weekend.
While making a search, I found this old thread with a lot of useful information. I decided to bump it.

I just place 2 orders for 2 sets of front pads (Brembos) and 1 set of rear pads (Ferodo Platinum). I had problems in finding a vendor the DP pads for the Capo. As soon as possible I will replace the original pads, with 8650 miles as of yesterday. After visual inspection without removing the calipers, it seems the front pads have 1mm left and the rear pads looked almost shot.

I hope I will not get one of those nasty screeeeee. BTW, the owners manual does not have instruction about the pads installation, does anyone have any applicable particular instruction, suggestion, comment or warning that I should be aware of???

10-05-2004, 10:52 AM
I replaced the rear pads with EBC at 11,000 now I find that the rear wheel locks up too easily and Im wishing for my old mushy ones.

Be careful what you wish for....

10-06-2004, 03:59 AM
I repaced my rear pads with EBC pads but I ued lower level ones they are kevlar not the HH metal ones they give good feel and effective braking. I do ride heavilly loaded most of the time. I'm told they are easier on the discs too.

10-18-2004, 12:47 PM
I got the 2 orders for 2 sets of front pads (Brembos) and 1 set of rear pads (Ferodo Platinum). BTW, I paid 29.60 for each set of Brembos plus $8.00 SH at the Chicago BMW dealer. They have them for the F650. I checked the pads, old ones against the new ones, same Brembo part number was engraved.

Yesterday I did replace the original front pads, with 9100 miles. The pads had more meat than I thought, they could have lasted another 1000 miles or more, although I feel better now. They are snug, no noise, I rode this morning a few miles, it seems they are working fine.
As far as the rear pads, they have a bit more meat than the front ones, so I will change them when I replace the rear tire, hopefully another 1000 miles.

10-18-2004, 06:13 PM
Dp in the rear nearly worn out now . best so far and longest lasting.
Have used ebc standard Ok but short life
ebc hh ,bloody crap ,brake fade easily and far too sharp in an emergency. i locked up the rear at 70 2 up big sideways , then fade fade fade .
Bleeding . i changed the rear brake fluid to Dot 5.1
When I was bleeding I looked in the reservior and a tiny set of bubbles went up and down with each pump and would not go away . the old method of tying the lever down overnight may have cured it but i used a thin pice of wire and teased the bubbles out as I released the pedal. the bubbles just run up the wire. Solid feel now , and unless you have a pressure bleeder and back bleed I bet you all have small air bubbles.
as or squeal providing your brakes are good IE not siezed glazed or warped coppa slip on the back of the pads is allmost allways the cure. i dont know of a pro who doesn't use it.
if you file a slot in pads dont file all the way to the metal leave the last 1mm of lining intact. I have seen pads fall apart because of this, not funny.

front ebc hh are better ,1 finger braking, but they are worse at low speed and have lack of feel or slight delay in the wet. seem to last really well and rotors are not wearing bady after 6000 miles.